US Makes Failing Democracy ‘Backsliding’ List for the First Time

US Makes Failing Democracy 'Backsliding' List for the First Time

( – We often think of democracy as the opposite of dictatorship or authoritarianism, but it’s not as simple as having an election every now and again. For a proper democracy to survive and prosper, it requires regular observation and accountability to make sure the government systems are working for the benefit of the people, not just those in power. This is especially the case when it isn’t a true democracy but a constitutional republic, as the United States is.

The United States has traditionally done a pretty good job in this regard. However, according to a new think-tank report, our standards may be slipping.

The US Is Now a “Backsliding” Democracy

On Monday, November 15, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) think-tank released a report claiming the United States is now a “backsliding” democracy. This designation is the first time in the Stockholm-based group’s history it has assigned this categorization to America.

While this is our first time on the list, the report’s authors claim the factors that led us here first came to the fore in 2019.

It’s not all bad news. While things like election fraud and corruption within pretty much all of the three-letter agencies are glaringly obvious to most Americans, this report claims that we managed to improve in some areas, such as corruption, in 2020. Unfortunately, however, civil liberties are on the decline, and our government checks on power are less robust than they used to be. Also of concern is the worsening polarization of our political systems and the growing threat of misinformation.

How the System Works

The think-tank assesses 160 countries on the quality of their democracy, putting them into three categories; democracies (including backsliding democracies), hybrid governments, and authoritarian regimes.

While America’s position disimproves in the eyes of this group, other countries are on the way up. Ukraine and North Macedonia are no longer backsliding democracies, according to International IDEA. On the other hand, Serbia and Mali are no longer considered democracies because of their unfavorable domestic situations. Unsurprisingly, the think-tank updated Afghanistan’s status to make it an authoritarian regime rather than a hybrid government.

The countries going toward authoritarianism outnumber those moving toward full democracy. This situation is the fifth year in a row that this has been the case, and the think-tank expects next year’s report to reflect the same trend as well. As a result, around 70% of the world’s population currently lives in a backsliding democracy, a hybrid state, or an authoritarian regime.

The United States of America prides itself on being the world’s oldest surviving system of government using some democratic methods. Our nation was born to free its subjects from tyranny and allow them to self-govern. Reports like these would therefore be profoundly worrying if it weren’t for their skewed view of America as a democracy or that questioning election results that were clearly tampered with was a bad thing.

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